LIVE FROM CES ASIA, SHANGHAI: Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s head of Asia, urged corporates to start an open conversation with their customers and stakeholders to better understand their needs, using the example of goverment leaders and mobile industry CEOs who are driving commercial and economic change via the social platform.
“To be distributed, you have to be relevant and authentic,” Rao (pictured) said in his keynote today. Yet, being conversational is not part of the way traditional media or corporations have engaged with customers.
Not mentioning the elephant in the room – the fact that Twitter is blocked in the mainland – he noted that leaders around the world, such as the new leaders in India and Indonesia after their elections, have used Twitter to reach out to a wide audience in a live and conversational way.
The former Google executive, who is also VP for Latin America and emerging markets, reminded the audience that more and more of the world today, and not just young people, expect to be heard and become part of a conversation, which many companies are starting to understand and act upon.
He said it has seen a 46 per cent increase in the use of its platform by CEOs.
For example, T-Mobile US CEO John Legere has said that Twitter helps him become a better leader.
“Who is on Twitter? My customers, employees, my competitors’ customers, and I hear every minute of every day how we’re doing and what we need to do differently,” Legere said. “When I touch as many people as I can, I not only learn and become a better CEO, but I see customers coming in because they can’t believe I’m on Twitter and favourited a tweet.”
Legere said what he does isn’t unique, but it’s the “historical legacy rules” that dictate why most companies behave the way they do.
Rao said that by staying connected to stakeholders in the moment, leaders can help their companies prosper and, as in Legere’s case, can set them apart from traditional thinking and conventional CEO approaches.
But even before companies reach out to communicate with customers, they are also using the platform to develop insight into key target segments. “For example, we see businesses wanting to understand what their customers want. Some 54 million people tweeting something that starts with ‘I want’ or ‘I need’, which shows clear intent,” Rao said.
This kind of engagement can also impact financial markets, he said. Within 10 minutes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeting the release of a new product, its share price increased 4 per cent and its market capitalisation rose $900 million.